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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 2
John Tuvey
Updated: September 17, 2010
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Start/Bench Codes (SBC)
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup) X: Unclear situation / Could go either way
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
 
 
Kansas City at Cleveland Back to top
Kansas City
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Cassel S2

So maybe you lost Kevin Kolb or Matthew Stafford to injury this week; here’s your sneaky little helper. Cassel won’t sort to the top of your waiver wire because he mustered just 68 yards in the Monday night monsoon, but when he faced Cleveland in Week 15 of last year he put up a career-high 331 and two. The Brownies are fresh off of surrendering two touchdowns to Josh Freeman, so a solid fantasy outing from Cassel would surprise only those who aren’t reading this.

RB Jamaal Charles
S2

Charles’ string of four straight 100-yard games ended largely because the Chiefs opted to only give him 11 carries; evidently his 8.3 yards per carry wasn’t impressive enough. If you saw his 56-yard TD jaunt Monday night you know he needs to be in your lineup every week because any touch could result in six, but this week is particularly promising because the last time he faced the Browns he rolled them for 154 and a touch. However, until Todd Haley removes his head from an orifice further south and gives Jamaal the touches he deserves, Charles must remain an S2.

RB Thomas Jones
S3

It’s not too strong to say that every carry Jones gets is a wasted opportunity the Chiefs could have given to Charles; nothing in the 3.5 yards per carry Jones mustered on 11 carries (same as Jamaal) confirm coach Todd Haley’s decision. However, right or wrong he’s going to get touches against a Cleveland defense that holds up to ground assaults with all the effectiveness of the Maginot Line. And because of that opportunity and Todd Haley’s stubbornness, go ahead and put Jones in your fantasy lineup.

WR

Dwayne Bowe

S2

Tough to get a gauge on the KC passing game in a torrential downpour, so we’ll settle for the six times in his final eight games of last year where Bowe was targeted double-digit times. He didn’t score and only posted 56 yards in last year’s match-up with the Browns, but Mark Bradley is out of the picture so Bowe can pick up that slack.

WR

Chris Chambers

S2

Chambers rolled the Browns for 5-114-1 in last year’s meeting, and against a secondary that let both Mike Williams and Michael Spurlock score last week you have to think there will be enough to go around for both Bowe and Chambers.

WR

Dexter McCluster

U

Love the rookie's upside, especially with the added bonus of the long return scores. But until his touches increase or we hit the player pool-thinning bye weeks, McCluster is a tough fantasy start.

TE

Tony Moeaki

U

Only three teams gave up more yardage to tight ends last year than the Browns; that total includes seven catches and 85 yards to the Brad Cottam/Leonard Pope tandem in Week 15. Moeaki has claimed the job, and more importantly the goal line looks as evidenced by his TD against the Chargers on Monday night. At this juncture he’s a bit of a stretch for a fantasy play in most leagues, but there is some definite upside here.

DT Chiefs S3 The return tandem of McCluster and Javier Arenas has suddenly turned the Chiefs D/ST into a viable fantasy unit, though it would actually be a negative if interception machine Jake Delhomme is unable to play.
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jake Delhomme B

Delhomme is listed as doubtful after missing the entire week of practice because of an ankle injury. That sneaky Eric Mangini won't rule him out, though, forcing the Chiefs to prepare for both of his mediocre quarterbacks. Between the injury and his limited upside, there's no reason to plug Delhomme into your fantasy lineup this week.

QB Seneca Wallace B

If as expected Wallace gets the start here,you have to believe he can top the 66 yards Brady Quinn put up on the Chiefs in last season’s battle. In two starts last year with Seattle Seneca put up 261 and 257 yards but couldn’t throw more than one TD in either. That feels like his top end here, which puts him at the bottom end of your fantasy options this week.

RB Jerome Harrison

S2

Harrison’s push for an offseason contract upgrade launched with his Week 15 blow-up against the Chiefs: 34 carries, 286 yards, three touchdowns. Before you ink him for a repeat, however, note that a) he didn’t get that contract despite closing with two more 100-yard efforts; and b) last week Peyton Hillis actually got more touches than Harrison. The Chiefs gave up 104 rushing yards to San Diego on Monday night, a number dampened by both the rain and the fact that the Bolts had to play catch-up and throw most of the second half. Harrison has upside, to be sure, but a repeat of last year’s monster outing is unlikely.

RB Peyton Hillis

S3

Hillis could have salted away the goal line job had he not put the ball on the ground last week against the Bucs; now we’re caught in kind of a gray area (How gray? Charcoal) with Harrison and Hillis sharing the workload. Though we’d rather see Eric Mangini settle on a feature back, there should be enough to go around here.

WR Mohamed Massaquoi S2

The Chiefs just let Legedu Naanee go for 5-110-1 against them, and Malcolm Floyd would have put up solid fantasy numbers as well if he’d caught more than a quarter of the 12 balls Philip Rivers threw his way. With Massaquoi still the Browns’ top target, he’s a solid bet to score for a second straight week.

WR Chansi Stuckey B

While there may be some upside to any secondary that can’t contain Legedu Naanee, there’s nothing to suggest Stuckey, Josh Cribbs, or Brian Robiskie can be trusted with a spot in your fantasy lineup.

TE Evan Moore
Ben Watson
B

Moore and Watson are sharing the looks, and with neither in the class of Antonio Gates—who has scored three of the five TE TDs the Chiefs have surrendered over the past 13 games—they’ll be splitting up whatever yardage there might be and killing each other’s fantasy value

DT Browns S3 Maybe Josh Cribbs saw Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas put on a return game show on Monday night and will want to answer. If your league counts return scores, the Browns are an every week start
 
Miami at Minnesota Back to top
Miami
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Chad Henne S3

Henne struggled in Week 1 against the Bills, a good secondary and a divisional opponent that’s given him fits in the past. But because the air is the preferred method of moving the ball and the Vikings secondary is gutted by injuries, Henne should have an opportunity to redeem himself with a decent outing here. Odds are you have a better fantasy play, but if you’re scrambling due to a Kevin Kolb injury this might be your safe harbor.

RB

Ronnie Brown

S3

The Dolphins aren’t going to quit running the ball just because the defense is tough; they pounded the Jets with 32 carries for 142 yards at home, but produced just 54 yards on 19 carries at home. In both cases Brown had the larger share of the workload and he could put up something like Pierre Thomas (19-71-1) did in the opener. But that’s his upside, making him a fringe fantasy play at best this week.

RB

Ricky Williams

B

Ricky’s redeeming factor is that in games against tougher run defenses he’s been a threat as a receiver: 3-70 and 2-41 in the two games against the Jets last season to offset 11-68 and 8-27 on the ground. That’s the silver lining if you’re forced to start him; hopefully you have a better option at your disposal.

WR

Brandon Marshall

S2

The Saints receiver who most resembles Marshall is Marques Colston, who had 5-62 on just six targets in the opener. Seeing as Marshall will get two, maybe three times as many looks, you have to like his chances for a big game here. At present the Vikings don’t have a healthy corner who can match up with Marshall’s size, so expect Chad Henne to look his way all afternoon.

WR

Davonne Bess

U With their secondary ravaged by injuries, the Vikings have been vulnerable to slot receivers matched up with their nickel and dime corners. Bess comes off a 51-yard effort in the opener and has a decent shot of duplicating Devery Henderson’s Week 1 score.
TE Anthony Fasano
B

Historically the Vikings have had trouble covering tight ends, though they held Jeremy Shockey in check in Week 1. Fasano is still a red zone threat, but that’s putting a bunch of eggs in one basket because outside the red zone he’s fourth or fifth in the pecking order for touches. You’ll find a more reliable fantasy option elsewhere.

DT Dolphins S3 While a Brett Favre pick or an Adrian Peterson fumble certainly isn’t out of the question, the Miami defense has done little to suggest they’re a strong fantasy play.
Minnesota
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brett Favre S3

The Vikings’ passing game looked out of sync in the opener, while Miami’s secondary looked pretty solid in shutting down Trent Edwards and the Bills. Minnesota has had a couple extra days to work out the kinks, so if you drafted Favre as your starter you should be able to squeeze a little fantasy help out of him this week.

RB Adrian Peterson S2

The Dolphins shut down the Bills’ ground game, but limiting AP is different; it takes some downright stupid play calling—such as giving Peterson six touches in the second half of a one-possession game—to do that. Maybe with their passing game in disarray the Vikings will turn to the best back in football to carry the load; it would be the smart thing to do. Then again, “smart” and “Vikings coaching staff” are rarely mentioned in the same sentence.

WR Percy Harvin

S3

The versatile Harvin brings enough to the table that despite Minnesota’s passing game woes he remains a viable fantasy play. If the offensive coordinator can’t come up with creative ways to get the ball in Percy’s hands, Favre will.

WR Bernard Berrian
B

No Viking wideout caught more than one ball in the season opener, and there’s no quick fix for the passing game problems. Berrian should be the go-to guy, but considering he was targeted only three times and caught just one ball—for three yards—it would be extremely difficult to put him in your fantasy lineup with any degree of confidence. Best let the kinks work themselves out before trusting Berrian with a start.

WR Greg Camarillo
U

There’s obviously the revenge angle, and Camarillo appears to be the kind of receiver the Vikings need: namely, one Favre can trust to catch the football when it’s thrown his way. But if Week 1 was any indication he has yet to carve out a role in Minnesota’s receiver rotation, and it may take a while before he does so; no one has accused the Vikings brain trust of being particularly quick on the uptake..

TE Vishante Shiancoe S2

The Dolphins have surrendered multiple big games to tight ends; last year Dallas Clark, Jeremy Shockey, and Kellen Winslow all topped 100 yards while Tony Gonzalez (73 and 1), Dustin Keller (76-1), and Heath Miller (56-1) all chipped in fantasy assistance as well. Shiancoe is Favre’s most trustworthy receiver right now, and unless the Dolphins treat him like the Saints did—shadowing him with a defensive back rather than a linebacker—he’ll tear them up as well. And with the Miami secondary still a work in progress, you have to wonder if a Dolphins d-back would be enough to slow Big Shank.

DT Vikings S2

Miami’s offensive line gave up three sacks to the Bills in Week 1, and the Vikings will bring considerably more heat—especially in the home opener. Sacks and pressure lead to fumbles and picks, which can lead to pick sixes regardless of what you’re running out there at cornerback.

 

Buffalo at Green Bay

Back to top
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Trent Edwards B

There’s little to like about Edwards’ prospects this week: he has no running game to help him, no line to protect him, and goes on the road to face a better pass defense than the one that held him to 139 yards last week. The only possible upside might come in garbage time if the Packers get up by three or four touchdowns early, but even then he’s never had a 300-yard game.

RB C.J. Spiller B

It’s tough to find justification for giving Spiller another shot this week; though he led the Bills’ RBBC with 11 touches (with Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch combining for nine), he produced just 14 yards (compared to Jackson’s 19 and Lynch’s 13). And now he faces a Packers defense that gave up the fewest fantasy points to running backs a year ago. Spiller is bound to have a breakout game; this week just doesn’t appear to be it.

WR Lee Evans B

Does Evans bring more to the table than, say, DeSean Jackson (4-30 vs. Green Bay last week)? Would you trust a receiver with Trent Edwards throwing him the ball any more than you would one with Mike Vick at the helm? Again, you just know there’s a long touchdown in Evan’s future, but there’s nothing to suggest it’ll happen this week.

DT Bills B Don’t expect the Bills to go to Green Bay and simply roll over for the Pack. But don’t be surprised if they go to Green Bay and get rolled.
Green Bay
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Aaron Rodgers S2

Even in Philly, when held under 200 yards, Rodgers still salvaged his fantasy day with two touchdown tosses. Buffalo has a solid secondary, but the Ravens put up similar numbers last year and Rodgers gouged them at Lambeau for 263 and 3. No reason to overthink this one; Rodgers is an every-week starter.

RB

Brandon Jackson

S2

What an opportunity for Jackson: not only does he step into the starting lineup to replace the injured Ryan Grant, his first game is at home against a team that surrendered the third-most fantasy points to running backs last year. Whether you were smart enough to draft him or quick enough to pick him up, you might as well plug him right into your lineup.

WR Greg Jennings
Donald Driver

S2

The Bills’ secondary is surprisingly good, but they’re not infallible; more importantly in this case, they’re on the road. Last year they gave up five games of 90 yards or more (all on the road), and six of the nine WR TDs they surrendered came wearing the road whites. Both Jennings and Driver scored last week, with Jennings seeing more targets and amassing more yards; he’s the better play, but both can be banked on this week.

TE Jermichael Finley
S2 The Eagles, one of the softer teams against tight ends last year, had a reasonable amount of success containing Finley. The Bills are significantly better against the big fellas, having kept them out of the end zone for 15 straight games. However, Rodgers looks to Finely enough that he’s unbenchable in TE-mandatory leagues and nearly so in WR/TE combo leagues regardless of opponent.
DT Packers S2 Green Bay’s playmakers on defense against Trent Edwards? It hardly seems fair.
 
St. Louis at Oakland Back to top
St. Louis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Sam Bradford B

The Raiders gave up two touchdown tosses to Vince Young on just 17 attempts. If the Rams give Bradford another 55 throws, maybe he could do the same. The kid has looked pretty good so far; now he just needs some more targets. Don’t expect the Black Hole to cut him any slack

RB Steven Jackson S1

Operating under the assumption that Jackson’s knee injury is of no concern and he’ll be back at practice by the end of the week, you have to love him against an Oakland defense that led the league in fantasy points allowed to running backs in 2009 and opened defense of its title by bowing down before Chris Johnson to the tune of 142 and 2. The Rams would love a chance to give Bradford a break and throw the workload on Jackson’s back, with the assumption that he could turn 22 (or more) carries into something greater than the 81 yards he had on that many totes last week against Arizona.

WR Mark Clayton
B

Wouldn’t it be the ultimate kick in the teeth for Clayton to finally live up to his first-round status just in time to head to Oakland to be blanketed by Nnamdi Asomugha? The Raiders allowed only three WR TDs in the Coliseum all of last year, so despite the burgeoning hook-up between the former Sooners he can’t be trusted with a fantasy start here.

WR Laurent Robinson
Danny Amendola
B

With Clayton potentially drawing Asomugha, that would leave Robinson and Amendola to pick up the table scraps. As noted above, there simply weren’t that many WR TDs to go around in Oakland and with Jackson taking a larger share of the offense another 55 attempts—which would in turn lead to more opportunities for the secondary targets—seem unlikely. Surely you have better fantasy options than a rookie quarterback’s tertiary receivers on the road against a good pass defense.

DT Rams B If JaMarcus Russell were still helming the Raiders, maybe the Rams D/ST would be worthy of consideration. But they couldn’t even pick off Derek Anderson, so they get a vote of “no confidence” here.
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Jason Campbell S3

The St. Louis secondary is better than you might think; they’ve held six of their last seven foes to one or fewer touchdown tosses and shut out the then-Redskin Campbell in Week 2 of last year. That said, Campbell managed 242 yards and this year’s edition of the Rams just gave up 297 and 1 to Derek Anderson. Odds are you have a better option than Campbell, but he’s an adequate fantasy play just in case you don’t.

RB Michael Bush
B

Bush practiced fully on Wednesday, just like last week when he didn't play on Sunday. He did, however, participate on a limited basis Thursday and Friday, which is more than he did last week. Still, best case he's looking at a share of the touches—and probably a light one given his injury status and Run DMc's success last week. Best keep him on your fantasy bench until you know for sure he'll play— and be getting a significant share of the carries.

RB Darren McFadden
S2

It wasn’t the monster day of, say, Arian Foster or Chris Johnson, but the Rams surrendered 159 combo yards and a touchdown to a pair of nondescript Arizona backs at home. McFadden, meanwhile, turned back the clock to Week 2 of his rookie year when he blew up the Chiefs for the one meaningful game of his NFL career. With Michael Bush still nursing an injured thumb, McFadden should get at least one more trip down memory lane with the bulk of the touches and a reasonable chance of replicating the 1 TD, 150-combo yard effort he produced against the Titans last week. And if Bush sits this one out entirely, Run DMc could very well deliver an S1-caliber performance.

WR

Louis Murphy


S3 If a case can be made for any Oakland receiver, it’s Murphy. The case would include a Rams’ secondary that just gave up 241 WR yards at home and Murphy’s team-leading—well, the most by a wide receiver on his team anyway—seven targets last week.
TE Zach Miller S2

The Rams absolutely shut down Arizona tight ends last week, primarily because the Cardinals treat the position like an appendix: unused and virtually unnoticed, at least until it ruptures and causes extreme pain. But last year any tight end who would typically be on a fantasy roster (John Carlson, Dallas Clark, Visanthe Shiancoe, Vernon Davis, Chris Cooley) scored or tallied at least 83 yards (or in some cases, both) against the Rams. Miller is on the cusp of that group, and since he’s Jason Campbell’s most reliable(and with eight targets, favored) downfield target you can bank on him for a decent fantasy game this week.

DT Raiders B There have been worse plays than the Raiders at home against a rookie quarterback. However, with 31 other options you should be able to find something with a little more in your favor.
 
Seattle at Denver Back to top
Seattle
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Matt Hasselbeck B The Broncos gave up just seven passing TDs at home last year; making matters worse, Hasselbeck is anything but a road warrior with three of his four multiple-TD games and three of his four outings with 250 or more yards coming in Seattle. Don’t go chasing last week’s numbers; with no running game, a rotating cast of receivers, and an offensive line that just lost its best remaining player for the rest of the season due to a toe injury, Hass has his work cut out for him.
RB Justin Forsett
Leon Washington
Julius Jones
B

With the touches being split three ways it’s impossible to peg any of them as a shrewd fantasy play; another injury to the offensive line and a road game against a defense that went to Jacksonville and held Maurice Jones-Drew out of his own end zone don’t help, either.

WR

Mike Williams
Deion Branch

B The one advantage the Seahawks have is that they don’t have a true WR1 for Champ Bailey to blanket. But that’s hardly much of an advantage. Of the six WR TDs the Broncos allowed in Denver last year, two went to nondescript guys like Legedu Naanee and Chaz Schilens. So we’re sayin’ there’s a chance; just not a very good one.
TE John Carlson S3 Yes, the Broncos allowed two TE TDs last week, but that came on the road and five of the six tight end scores they surrendered last year came away from Mile High. On the bright side, Carlson has scored in each of his last two road games so if there is a passing game score to be had this week he might just be on the business end of it. In many TE-mandatory leagues that’s enough to make him worthy of starter consideration.
DT Seahawks B Seattle’s defense is a tad underrated, but they’re most effective at home with the help of their raucous crowd. They won’t have such an advantage in Denver
Denver
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton S2

It’s a favorable match-up for Orton, who is coming off a solid 295 and 1 in Week 1. For starters, the Seahawks have allowed at least 256 yards in each of their last seven road games, an average of better than 300 yards per game during that span, at least one passing TD in every game and a total of 16 over that stretch. Orton has at least 245 yards in each of his last three at Invesco, with a TD toss in each, and he should be looking at some quality fantasy numbers this week.

RB

Knowshon Moreno


S2 Moreno gets a hand from a Seahawks run defense that doesn’t travel well; 14 of the 17 RB rushing scores they surrendered last year came on the road. Knowshon likes the home cooking as well, with touchdowns in three of his last four at Invesco and 80 combo yards or better in four straight and six of eight at home last year. The hamstring that hampered his preseason can only be getting better, setting Moreno up for a solid fantasy showing here.
WR Jabar Gaffney
Eddie Royal
Brandon Lloyd
S2

Only three teams allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers last year than the Seahawks, and with the Broncos coming off a game in which Lloyd and Gaffney topped 98 yards and Gaffney scored, all three are legitimate fantasy plays this week.

DT Broncos S3 Denver’s defense is nothing special, especially from a fantasy perspective, but you could do worse than a home team facing a club with no offensive stalwarts and a track record of laying eggs on the road.

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